Mexican community pushes to protect a historic Cleveland landmark from demolition
CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) – Members of Mexican and Hispanic communities at large gathered Wednesday in front of the Club Azteca building to protest its potential demolition.
“We are here, we’re a part of this city, and you’ll have to deal with us,” Eduardo Rodriguez, executive director of the Comité Mexicano de Cleveland (Cleveland Mexican Committee) said.
The club was formed in the 1920s as a refuge for Mexican immigrants who faced discrimination. Its members began to meet in the basement of 5602 Detroit Ave. The organization eventually bought the property in the 1950s.
The Coalition of several Hispanic and Mexican stakeholders ask the Cleveland Landmark Commission to reconsider a vote to issue a permit for the demolition of the building until next May. The temporary pause would allow the community to define measures to preserve the site
“If we had a place, we could organize better so we can fight for justice for our people,” Alex Corona, a participant in the demonstration, said.
Veronica Dahlberg, executive director of the organization HOLA Ohio, argues the building’s history is equally important as the home of any other immigrant group in the city.
“Whether it’s Hungarian, whether it’s Slovenian, whether it’s polish, we too have a hall, and it was Club Azteca,” she said.
Participants also added the building is a part of Cleveland’s legacy. “This is Cleveland History, and everyone should celebrate it not just the Mexican community,” Corona said.
“We don’t want to be erased off the map,” Rodriguez added. “We don’t want them to write the story without the presence of the Mexican community.”
The Landmark Commission will have a virtual meeting tomorrow, Thursday. It is not clear if the group will decide the fate of the Club Azteca site during their proceedings.